James E. Edmond Trail

HARD 80 reviews

James E. Edmond Trail is a 8.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Clayton, Georgia that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

8.3 miles
2,125 feet

dogs on leash





mountain biking

trail running





wild flowers


17 days ago

This was a pretty fun trail overall a lot of somewhat steep ups and downs and a few tight switchbacks mixed in with a bit of mud and river handrailing. If your an experienced hiker this trail is on the high side of moderate for you but for the average hiker it could be considered hard. There is a $5.00 parking fee (don't be that guy, pay to play and pick up your crap). There is a campsite at the top (3116 ft) but all sites must be reserved but I'm my opinion its worth it due to the fact it comes with benches and a fire pit/grill. Follow the orange markers and you can't go wrong.

20 days ago

Difficult but beautiful hike. I definitely underestimated the 8 miles. You must pay $5 for parking, or risk a $175 fine.

23 days ago

Beautiful and well maintained. Loved it!

2 months ago

From our campsite and back was about 10 miles. It rained a bit after we left the Lookoff Mountain summit overlook and that brought the temp to a comfortable level. Was a very good hike.

3 months ago

Great trail. Incline was definitely a workout!

3 months ago

loved this trail! It was a good challenge!

3 months ago

Well maintained and not for the faint of heart. Overlook is a little disappointing but great view on clear day. The wind was gusting and made the trail come alive with sound.

3 months ago

Very hard trail but well maintained and marked.

9 months ago

Did a portion of the trail from the lake to the lookout. It was hard a lot of fallen trees to climb over and we lost the trail for a couple of times. Lookout was disappointing but we made it.

9 months ago

Go left at the fork for a more challenging hike, right at the fork for a, still challenging, but slightly less steep inclines. Wonderful trail, light traffic, beautiful scenery.

10 months ago

The "overlook" was overlooking a shipping facility. Kind of lame after walking for so long, but the trail was clean and very beautiful.

11 months ago

Beautiful trail. No trash and really well maintained. A lot of cool mushrooms to spot along the trail. It's not as difficult as it says. I'm not very trained and did the trail in 4 hours stopping for a snack. The last bit out is uphill and a workout. I felt great after the hike.

11 months ago

The reward for this hike is to complete it. Pretty challenging but not over the top. My route didn't give me any views but got some stream crossings and waterfalls. Good hike!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Love the view from Lookoff Mountain. As others said, the uphill on the way back is brutal. But a beautiful well marked and quiet trail. Will definitely revisit.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

This was an extremely challenging hike and I loved it. The trail was well marked. What made it difficult was that it was all up and down, with the last stretch of the loop being up!
The warm day made it more difficult. I will hike this trail again in the winter when most of the foliage is gone and the air is cool.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Keep in mind that this was only my 5th hike, although I'm in good shape. I thought it was an extremely difficult trail, but a wonderful challenge if that's what you want. Trail is extremely well-marked with wonderful views about halfway and a nice camp site in which to rest a bit and eat. Lots of ups and downs. I found the final two miles up the West Fork very hard and when it was done I felt as though I had had a pretty incredible workout. Poles were a huge help on this hike although it could certainly be done without them.

Friday, June 30, 2017

I've come to Clayton in the summertime for over 20 years, and I'd often wanted to hike this trail, but never did because of the time commitment and lack of hiking enthusiasts among my family. But this summer, we're vacationing for a full week in Rabun Gap, and today was forecast to be beautiful until early evening when the rain storms would move in. So, I asked my wife to drop me off at the trailhead. Today would be the day to tackle this trail!

I chose to go counterclockwise where the trail splits into the east and west forks (no signage at that spot, which is roughly a mile walking mostly downhill from the start). West Fork is to the left, East Fork to the right.

The trail says it's strenuous and it is, but it's not impossibly hard for the casual day-hiker. There are some steep descents and ascents where I was very glad to have my hiking poles, but there are many portions where the inclines are quite moderate or even flat, which gave this hiker a welcomed break.

The payoff is the view from Lookoff Mountain which overlooks Wolffork Valley to the west. It's a beautiful view of a settled valley. (I skipped the one-mile hike around the lake because I do that several times each time we're here, but if you've not hiked around the lake, by all means, do so).

There are several ways to break-up this hike into smaller pieces if you have someone in your party willing to pick you up (along the road where the trail crosses, or at the lake, for instance).

The trail is very clear to follow, overall signage is good, orange blazes need repainting but are easily spotted as-is and there are a lot of them (mostly unnecessary as it's obvious you're on the trail). Very little mud, bridges make crossing streams super easy, and the bridges are in good repair. The path is well-worn, and only a few places do you duck under overgrown foliage. Not many rocks to climb over, and not many roots to trip over. Almost all the hiking is shaded as you hike through a wooded forest.

I only saw three other hikers during the five hours I was out hiking (roughly four hours actual hiking + one hour for lunch; I move slowly, especially on the steep ascents).

I wore lightweight hiking pants and was glad I did. There is enough vegetation I brushed past that I avoided any minor scratches or bug bites/stings had I worn shorts. I had a hiking hat, too, and that saved getting scratched atop my head by low-hanging vegetation (I'm 6' 2"). I used this app to see where I was, and what elevation changes lay ahead. That makes it helpful to know how much further it is to get to a level pathway once more.

Since it's a loop, you ascend and descend the same number of feet. Irrespective of which fork you decide to take first after that first mile, you'll get a good, strenuous workout.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

This is a great hike even without the loop around the lake. In June 2017 there was a lot of deadfall on the East Fork that was difficult and all of the bridges were slippery. There are two difficult long descents and two long difficult ascents. Recent storms eroded parts of the trail. Alternately you can start on the gravel road and hike to the overlook but there is no formal parking. Signage was great but blazes infrequent in some parts.

Friday, June 16, 2017

this is a moderate to hard hike. absolutely beautiful views with a lot of water. I don't think it matters which direction you go it is up and down both ways. we had a great time on it though.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Great hike with a huge pay off with the loop around the lake. Not too many hard areas and tons of wildlife, flowers and birds.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Beautiful hike. We were there in the month of September. Glad to see a small waterfall on our way.
Moderate level of difficulty
Pets on leash
Camping sites available

Sunday, May 28, 2017

It was about 10 miles total to do the entire the length of the trail and was a lot more than I bargained for! The view at the top is nice, but you definitely want a better reward when you are hiking for this long! There are a couple of shortcuts, but we didn't use them. There are a couple of pretty waterfalls and wooded fields of fern. It's very up and down and down and up. Phew! This trail was a doozy.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Solid view at the top of lookoff mountain. Take the trail counterclockwise for one hell of a climb at the end. Beautiful creeks!!!

Monday, September 05, 2016

So I have done lots of research looking for the most challenging day hike in GA. The sights I visited say one of two trails James E. Edmund or Arkaquah trail. Now having hiked them both I have say I think Arkaquah trail to the top of Brasstown Bald was a bit harder and defiantly more scenery. James E. Edmund was defiantly not easy though. Mostly a lot of up hill in the woods but I agree with the previous posts of if you want stunning views go somewhere else. This one is best for bragging rights. I did the 8.3 miles in just under 3 hours and I'm doing this review 3 days later I am still sore. Bring water there are no water pints along the trail and it is generally easy to follow I forgot my map and still made it alright.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

If you are up for a 9.6 mile (my GPS measurement) loop trail with just one overlook and very small water features, with 1400 feet of elevation gain, this is a good hike. It starts out going down hill, goes up about 600 feet, then goes back down, then goes up about 800 to end the trail, which is the opposite of ideal. The trail was well worn making it easy to follow despite the poor signage. Marking it as East and West Fork on a loop was unnecessarily confusing. The view at the top was only decent considering the area and the other hikes within an hour. We completed it in 4 hours total with stops, and saw 2 people hiking it about halfway through. I rate it highly but probably will not be back to hike it again as there are so many other better hikes.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Very challenging trail, but well worth it! For the most part, the trail markers are visible but there are a few forks along the way. Just to make your life easier, grab a map from the visitor center before you start the hike so you can follow where you are on the trail. The terrain makes for a strenuous hike most of the way but there are several bridges, roads, and even a creek you will pass over. My friend and I slid down one of the bigger waterfalls - nice way to keep cool. :) About halfway through the hike, we stopped at Lookoff Mountain overlook and it was breathtaking, as you can see a full mountain range. We took the East fork up and the West fork back - listen to others who say to do the opposite!! Your legs will thank you. The last mile to 2 miles I could not wait to get back to my car. We only passed 2 people on the entire trail so it seems to be very low traffic. It may have hurt, but it was worth it!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Very nice trail at blackjack state park. 8.5 or so if you add in the lake loop, which I don't know why you wouldn't. 2000ft total ascent with some nice views along the way and some running water as well.

I love this state park. It sits at about 3500ft so is quite a bit cooler than most places. Clayton is nice and Franklin and Highlands are about 45 minutes away. Great hiking is also around outside the park with the Bertram and several solid day hikes less than a half hour away. The great part about this area is it is pretty remote and you can find hikes where you won't pass a single person.

Park has tent camping and is well maintained.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Just experienced this invigorating hike yesterday. This was truly an adventure. It encompasses everything that you would want in a hike. Mountain summit, valleys, waterfalls, Forrest canopy, rushing creeks. The topography was amazing. It had been raining previous to our hike and I would recommend wearing appropriate hiking boots and using hiking sticks for this trail. Since the rain made the trail more difficult I'm not sure if we could have traversed it safely without these items. We took the advice of precious hikers and went West first. This was a great decision as they described, because it's best to do the harder part first when your still fresh on the hike. My greatest criticism is the trail blaze; they need to remark the trail - at times it was difficult to ascertain if we were still on it or not since it's a weathered trail. Also, I would recommend this hike for late fall or early spring (before things bloom). The trail is narrow and if the brush had been in full bloom it would've been more difficult and more dangerous to navigate (snakes, poison oak, etc). Other than that, enjoy the adventure! My pedometer measured that we hiked 22,508 steps so you will definitely get some cardio done!

Monday, October 12, 2015

This is an excellent trail. We are seasoned hikers and would rate the trail as difficult. We enjoyed many aspects of the trail, which included wonderful sweeping vistas, several excellent rushing water views and superb trails that occasionally had unique terrain to navigate. We followed some previous advice from other hikers to go out on the West Bank and return on the East Bank. This is good advice. It allows you to navigate what we considered slightly more difficult terrain while fresh on the outbound trek and enjoy less vigorous terrain during the return. If there were any negatives to report, we might just add that there isn't good signage at the intersection of the approach trail with the West & East bank trails. Otherwise, the entire trail is well-marked with orange painted blazes on the trees. We highly recommended this trail. It took us approximately 3.5 hours actual hiking time.

Monday, June 01, 2015

I really enjoyed this trail. It had a little bit of everything. There was a great view from the top, some creek crossings, some steep climbs, and some relaxing strolls through the tunnels of trees. I got to this trail just as the mountain laurel was waning. I bet it would be awesome in its prime. I recommend going on the west branch and working your way to the east branch. It takes you right up to the scenic overlook. This is a great hike and a bit of a work out.

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